The Keys to Work/Life Blending

November 6, 2017

With technology at employees’ fingertips and most professional positions requiring employees to have work email on their cell phones, the idea of an 8am-5pm work day has become a distant memory. Gone are the days of spending eight hours in the office and the remainder of the day pursuing personal interests. Further, the reality of five generations in the workforce has prompted awareness in how the workday is changing. These days, work life and personal life are fluid and permeable, with the integration of the two known as work/life blending.

While being accessible nearly 24 hours a day and seven days a week can be stressful, to some it is a way to successfully manage a balance between the requirements of work and home. Having the flexibility to manage the time dedicated to work commitments and personal commitments can be a satisfying solution to those who want or need to focus energy in both areas of life.  Finding the right integration can be so gratifying that employees find it hard to see the difference of ‘work’ and ‘home,’ because they blend so well together.

Based on the type of work or other circumstances, the blending of home and professional lives may not always be possible. Restrictions due to type of work or having to be available and present to the public may hinder the most fluid type of blending. Organizations that can offer work/life blending and feel their business can sustain it, could follow these below suggested steps to optimize a successful outcome.

  1. Set expectations – If employees are free to receive an occasional personal phone call or spend five minutes reading a non-work-related article on the internet, then employers likely should expect that the same courtesy is returned when there might be an urgent email that requires a response after hours. Clearly explaining this to employees rather than expecting them to be perceptive enough to do this is important. In today’s mutigenerational workforce, employees can have different work habits from one another, but still have to get the same work done.
  2. Be fair, but know that does not always mean consistent – While some employees may eagerly jump at the chance to attend to personal matters during the work day or address a work issue on a Saturday evening, others may not find it desirable or necessary. As long as the goals are being achieved, the blending is working, no matter how much or little the components mix.  Employees may need to be reminded of this if work habits differ, but results are the same.
  3. Assess and evaluate – Monitor the organization’s results. With work/life blending have numbers increased positively?  Do employees have higher morale?  Is there less tension and stress?  Both informal and formal assessments of the work environment and its outcomes will help an organization know if a move towards a blended work/life environment is working.

No matter the industry, business culture, or company size, current technology and the upcoming generations are shifting the way in which work and personal life interacts for employees. It is important to prepare and account for these changes in the workforce, and ensure that expectations are clearly communicated to all employees. For questions on how to manage the work/life blending in your organization, please contact EctoHR, Inc. at 810-534-0170 or hr@ectohr.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *